"....watching television makes toddlers fatter and stupider....."
Watching TV 'makes toddlers less intelligent'
....Scientists who tracked the progress of pre-school children found that the more television they watched aged two-and- a-half the worse they were at mathematics, the more junk food they ate, and the more they were bullied by other pupils.
....The study found that for every extra hour of TV a week the two-year-olds watched there was a 6 per cent decrease in maths achievement (though not in reading), a 7 per cent decrease in classroom engagement, and a 10 per cent increase in "victimization" by peers, such as teasing, rejection and assault. Each extra hour also corresponded with 9 per cent less exercise, consumption of 10 per cent more snacks, and a 5 per cent rise in body mass index.
Most of these finding are pretty intuitively obvious. However, I was surprised by the correlation between television viewing patterns at two years old and being a target of a bully in the classroom years later. Is it more than just a weight issue (more tv means less activity, which means heavier kid, which means more likely to be targeted by a bully)?
Even the researchers were a bit surprised by the long-term negative effects of television watching in early childhood.
"Although we expected the impact of early TV viewing to disappear after seven-and-a-half years of childhood, the fact that negative outcomes remained is quite daunting.
...A New Zealand study which went up to the age of 26 demonstrated that childhood viewing was "significantly associated" with leaving school without qualifications, concluding that the link was clear regardless of early problems or socio-economic status.
I wonder how content effects this trend. My older children use tv or computer for a large percentage of our homeschool efforts. Of course, they aren't 2 years old, but I can't help but worry that this has a negative influence on older students as well.
I can also see a logical weakness in connecting television viewing at age 2 and later problems. Most likely, if a child watched that much television at a young age, that trend would continue through childhood and adolescence. Could it be that the negative outcomes are a result of the sum total of television viewing over childhood, and not just at one particular age or stage?
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